In mid-1800s New England, under the cloud of an imminent civil war, Sophia Peabody is plagued by debilitating headaches as she exercises her artistic abilities. Though her mother encourages her to remain single in order to pursue her gift, Sophia marries Nathaniel Hawthorne—an aspiring writer who eventually achieves fame through his masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter.
Though Sophia romantically assumes that the marriage of artistic souls will lead to an Eden-like existence, the reality is radically different. Poverty, childbearing, a transient existence, the deaths of loved ones, and Sophia’s headaches conspire to keep her from painting and drawing.
This historical novel provides an intriguing glimpse into the faith life, passionate nature, and hardships of a woman who sacrificed her artistic proficiency in a time when men’s skills were more highly prized than women’s gifts. (New American Library)